I bought this laptop in December 2004, I was chuffed with it for the first few months - it could play the newly released Half Life 2 decently and I could even manage Battlefield 2 on the smaller maps at a decent 30fps. It wasn't to last however, a series of component failiures have pushed me away from notebooks.
This was my first laptop computer, and like a mother with her first baby - they are determined to do everything right. I invested in a notebook cooler and kept my laptop in pristine condition. For a few weeks the laptop went everywhere with me - it could totally outclass all my friends in gaming performance and the extra backache was well worth carting the thing around - and I'm by no means a small guy.
The desktop performance I found to be excellent, photoshop, illustrator, 3ds max all worked comparably well with my desktop - except in areas where hard drive speed was an issue - everything was quick and responsive.
The product arrived quickly and the packaging was very good, ensuring my investment wasn't DoA. It came with all the relevent connectors, power cable & transformer, a smart card reader PCMCIA card and three discs for Acer Recovery. The default windows install was a little bloated for my need, with at least 7 active programs in the system notification area - many I would find redundant (such as the modem controller) - so I quickly uninstalled and disabled these - bumped the resolution up from 1024x768 to the native 1280x800 (?) and had many months of pleasure from working with the laptop.
This is not really what you would call a portable purchase, it's heavy weight and short battery life make anything other than a couple of hours away from a plug socket something of a nightmare. The battery life was in the region of 2 hours from 100% and within 12 months the battery life seemingly dropped to about 40-50 minutes.
About 7 months after my purchase, the laptop began to freeze after being on only for a few minutes - and all the connectors at the back would be incredibly hot to the touch. Knowing I had the 12 month warranty I called Acer Technical Support who quickly sent a courier to pick up my notebook and had it back and repaired within a couple of weeks.
A few weeks later more and more problems became apparent - the keyboard became very unresponsive on specific keys, I removed the entire keyset and thoroughly cleaned the board - however, it seemed that the connectors were no longer responsive to anything other than a 'harsh' keystroke. This made typing in various things quite a painstaking process - but one I decided I could live with.
Then the products 12 month warranty expired, and the graphics card failed, I got a reasonable repair quote from Acer - much less than I was expecting, but I assume what killed the graphics card was the heat - which I feel should have been fixed with the repairs taken with the heatsink and fan maintainance before.
I then realised that this laptop in particular has serious problems with heat - and for one which was marketed to me as a complete desktop replacement - this was totally unacceptable as I had even been using the notebook cooler over extended periods.
Technical support were always helpful, I was never on the phone longer than 20 minutes waiting for an operative and I was always dealt with quickly - and I wasn't treated like an idiot like many places can do. i.e. is it plugged in. We did, however, have quite an unprofessional tech rep on one occaision who liked to joke around that he was going to debit £500 from my account when the actual amount was only £35.
My advice to anyone who purchases this laptop is to take out the extended 3 year warranty and to have regular! backups of data. The laptop is powerful, but not portable - and any problems that go wrong will be very expensive - so the £66 3 year warranty that Acer offers is very good value.
What a hardcore laptop! I used this as a main computer and laptop for over 5 years and gave it a fair share of abuse.
During this time I heard of horror stories of Acer laptops breaking very easy and for complete breakdowns to occur. I never experienced anything as bad as this until about 4 years.
When released this laptop was a very high spec and would easily handle most high end games. Of course this isn't true today and in pure specification terms you will find a similarly powerful laptop in a Netbook.
With such a small amount of RAM (upgradable) I wouldn't recommend using this laptop for any new games in the past few years. In fact my particular model wasn't happy streaming videos over the net in fullscreen.
If you are interested in a second hand, basic laptop then this may be what you need. With Windows XP or a Linux OS the laptop should run perfectly fine and allow you to browse the internet, email and produce documents easily.
Overall the laptop is very large and quite heavy. Add the power brick and the whole package is uncomfortable to carry around. I don't believe this was designed as a laptop to travel with but it is possible and I've taken this on many train journeys.
I found that most of the other features and specifications work as you would expect with WiFi, DVD writer, etc. There isn't any Bluetooth on this laptop but plenty of USB ports (at the back).
Acer pre-load the laptop with the ability to re-install the computer to it's initial state without any CDs. You can get rid of this and free up some storage space but it's handy for uses who might want to do this later down the line.
After around 4 years of using the laptop (along with dropping, banging and carrying it around lots) it gave a sign that it's life was coming to an end. During a long haul flight the laptop developed serious issues with the graphics card with it being unable to load in anything but Safe Mode. With a lot of tweaking it was possible to get it working albeit it with some graphic defects - however this was a major malfunction. I'm unaware whether this is a common defect and it definitely got a bashing through the years but may be a consideration if buying second hand.